Daylight Savings Time and Car Accidents
Daylight Saving Time may lead to an increase in car accidents
University researchers from Stanford and Johns Hopkins examined whether “springing forward” by setting clocks ahead one hour to Daylight Saving Time (DST) leads to an uptick in car accidents.
The data came from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and covered a 21-year period. The researchers found that on the Monday after the clocks were turned ahead one hour, there was an increase in fatal car accidents. The increase was not large, but it was significant. The researchers also found an increase in the fall, on the Sunday when clocks are set back an hour.
Other research, from the University of Colorado and the University of British Columbia, came to similar findings. The Colorado study, for example, found a 17 percent increase in deaths related to traffic accidents on the Monday after the “spring forward” time change. The Colorado study also found that the increase in accidents after the time change tends to occur for about one week – not only on the Monday after the spring change.
Daylight Savings Time
Daylight Saving Time was originally supposed to be an energy saver. It started in German during the First World War for that purpose. A number of other countries, including the U.S. and Canada, followed.
In the United States and Canada, DST is not universally used. Most of Arizona has no DST, and the same is true of most of Saskatchewan. Twice a year there the recurring debate comes around again. Does it make sense to still use DST?
Traffic accidents aren’t the only concern. In addition, sleep disruption from the transition to and from DST is also associated with increases in heart attacks, strokes, and marital conflict. And given the increase in heating and cooling costs in the evening, researchers don’t think it really saves energy anymore either.
For many people, the semi-annual transition to DST may not be a big hassle. But for others, such as those impacted by car accidents, it is much more than that. If a fatigued driver slammed into you, causing a car accident and serious injury, it makes sense to get knowledgeable legal counsel to protect your legal rights.